Red and black

Baked Berry Cheesecake

  • 8 digestive biscuits
  • 50g butter , melted
  • 600g cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 142ml pot soured cream
  • 300g raspberries, blackberries and strawberries
  • icing sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Crush 8 digestive biscuits in a food processor (or put in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with 50g melted butter. Press into a 20cm springform tin and bake for 5 minutes, then cool.
  2. Beat 600g cream cheese with 2 tbsp flour, 175g caster sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 yolk and a 142ml pot of soured cream until light and fluffy. Stir in 150g raspberries and pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in the tin to cool.
  3. Using the remaining 150g raspberries, keep a few for the top and put the rest in a pan with 1 tbsp icing sugar. Heat until juicy and then squash with a fork. Push through a sieve. Serve the cheescake with the raspberry sauce and raspberries.

Summer Berry Baked cheesecake

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.


Moreish Chocolate Cookies

We were fed up with the choice of Easter products to give as a gift so the kids decided it would be much nicer to take a more personal approach and asked it they could bake some biscuits and then decorate them for Easter gifts to family.

Chocolate upon chocolate

Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 175g (6 oz) butter, unsalted and diced
  • 115g (4oz) caster sugar (superfine)
  • Finely grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 50g (2oz) chocolate chips
  • 2 bars of good chocolate to decorate
  • Decorations of your choice 🙂
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) Gas 4
  2. Cream butter and sugar and lemon rind together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg yolks, then stir in the flour and chocolate chips to make a firm dough. If it is a little soft (which ours was) chill it in the fridge until firm.
  3. Roll the dough on baking parchment to just under 5mm (1/4″) in thickness. Using a 9cm (3.5″) fluted cutter, stamp out rounds, and place, spaced slightly apart on non stick baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets (as they will crumble if you try and take them off!)
  6. Melt the good chocolate over a bowl of water until it is nice and smooth and then carefully spoon it over the cookie tops.
  7. Whilst the chocolate is still warm put any decorations on top. We used chocolate mini eggs, chocolate buttons, sprinkles and mini smarties.
  8. Finally leave the chocolate to cool and set again, then enjoy.
This recipe makes 18 moreish cookies  🙂



The Easter presents

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Chocolate Heaven

Well it is Saturday, so it is time for our weekly baking share. This time the kids decided that they should be chocolate ones, with of course even more chocolate on top! :-)

Gooey Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g blanched hazelnuts, ground
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 200g chocolate and hazelnut spread (nutella)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) Gas 4
  2. Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, set over a pan on gently simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Leave until almost melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the hazelnuts, then sift the flour into the mixture and fold in. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  4. Drop 1/2 heaped tablespoon of the mixture into each paper-case, then flatten and add an indentation into the centre using the back of a teaspoon. Drop a generous dollop of chocolate spread into the centre of each one, then divide the  remaining cake mixture between each cupcake, placing it on top.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 18 minutes until risen and the top springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. To decorate make some butter icing 85g butter, whisked until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in 170g of icing sugar. Finally add a few drops of vanilla extract and beat in.
  8. Top the cold cupcakes with a small quantity of the icing and decorate with chocolate buttons, hazelnuts or your own choice of topping :-)
This recipe makes 24 deliciously moist cupcakes
We are off on an Easter Egg hunt tomorrow where Downton Abbey was filmed………so excited 🙂

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Butterfly Baking

Another baking afternoon fun when the kids got home from school they wanted to make some cupcakes for the school fete, who am I to stop them. As usual they made the cake and then this time I did the final decoration as it is a little tricky for a 8 year old to cut the tops and do the butterfly wings :-)

Butterfly Cupcakes

  • 200g (8 oz) butter
  • 200g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 150g (6oz) butter
  • 350g (14oz) icing sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) Gas 6
  2. Line two 12-hole bun tins with paper cases
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little milk so that you get a soft, dropping consistency.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, dividing it equally. Then bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely risen and they spring back when touched gently on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the butter icing, cream the butter until pale, light and fluffy, then gradually add the icing sugar (I always sift it in and then stir slowly to avoid the sugar dust going everywhere!) beating it in really well. Add a few drops of milk if needed to get a smooth consistency.
  6. When the cupcakes are cold, slice the tops off with a sharp knife and then cut each top in half. Spoon a dollop of the butter icing on the top of each cake. Replace the tops to make the wings. Decorate with silver balls and jelly laces for the body and antennae or like I did with chocolate buttons!
  7. Finally dust with icing sugar, then enjoy.
This recipe makes 24 delicious and fun cupcakes  🙂

If you have a go at the recipe, please post a link to any photos you take of them or just leave a comment to let me know how they turned out as I would LOVE to know 🙂

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

After school baking

Scrummy banana bread

Another Project Life collage for today, as I love spending quality time with my kids at the weekend above all else so I thought Saturdays would be a great day to share some of our forays into the culinary or craft field. Friday afternoon when we came home my son saw that we had some ripe bananas sitting in our fruit bowl and asked if we could bake, well who am I to refuse such a request. I do not know about you but I always seem to find myself with some very ripe bananas…one day they are green, the next speckled and almost too ripe. Our household does not like eating them when they get to this stage, so baking is a great way to use them up!

I love that both my kids have a love for baking and cooking in general. This banana loaf recipe is so easy, and so forgiving too, no matter what you do it seems to turn out delicious. This is our favourite banana loaf…I have made quite a few in my time and they are all good. But this one is one of the nicest. It is always moist and just perfect, and even gets better with age :-)

We listened to music signing, joking, discussing our days and laughing as we baked, such fun.

So annoyed with myself on the editing of this collage. Note to self, pay attention to the detail :-0

Banana Loaf

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 175g (6oz) butter or margarine
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • handful of crushed walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F/Gas 4

  1. Peel the bananas then crush with a fork.
  2. Beat together the butter/margarine and sugar and then add the eggs alternately with the flour and baking powder.
  3. Fold in the crushed banana, vanilla essence and cinnamon and walnuts (if added).
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 450g (1lb) loaf tin, and if liked top with long thin slices of an additional banana.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cool slightly then turn out onto a wire rack.
  7. When cool, slice.
  8. ENJOY!

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Gingerbread fun

The fantastic gingerbread men

Today my post is a little different from my previous ones, this collage above was part of my Project Life 2012. The concept of Project Life itself was started by Beccy Higins and was designed as a way to simplify the documenting of every day life. If you do not know what it is, it is worth checking out. It is great for recording memories in an easy and fun way either digitally like me or in the traditional scrapbook form.

For many years I had been meaning to do a traditional scrapbook of my kids lives and to that end I have boxes and boxes (my husband with vouch for this!!!) of bits and pieces I hadkept, written, photos taken etc from the time I was pregnant with them both. So far I have managed one year of my daughters life in the traditional paper form, but time has always been an issue for me. “December Dailies” came to my attention when one of my friends (thank you so much Clare) mentioned it to me. I enjoyed doing this so much digitally that I started googling “Scrapbooking” which is when I came across Beccy and her account of Project Life. BINGO, I knew this was something I really wanted to have a go at as it looked so manageable.

Well. so far I have managed to stay up to date and have lots of pages made into a book for last year and I am well on my way to being ready to be make another at the end of this year and I am enjoying every minute of it too! Even now looking back over the last fifteen months at the pages brings the memories alive.

As a working mum I personally often feel that my kids miss out (I know deep down that they do not, but it does not change the way I feel!), so whenever I get the chance, I ensure that I have some one on one time with both of them, doing something that they will hopefully remember in the years to come! This day my son and I had a blast making these wonderfully tasty Gingerbread Men, so worth trying as they are yummy!

Gingerbread Men Recipe 

-makes 12 large Double Ginger gingerbread men

  • 140.0g unsalted butter
  • 100.0g dark muscovado sugar
  • 3.0 tbsp golden syrup
  • 350.0g plain flour
  • 1.0 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2.0 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 balls stem ginger from a jar, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix flour, soda, spices and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in the butter mix and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
  2. Wait until cool enough to handle, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out gingerbread men, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again. Lift onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 mins until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks.
  3. To decorate, mix icing sugar with a few drops of water until thick and smooth. Halve then slice cherries thinly to make smiles, and cut ginger into small squares. Spoon icing into a food bag, snip off the tiniest bit from one corner, then squeeze eyes and buttons, and a tiny smile onto 1 man at a time. Stick on a cherry smile and ginger buttons. Repeat; leave to set. Will keep up to 1 week in an airtight tin.


You can also use raisins, sultanas or Smarties to decorate, if you prefer. (for our ones above, we just used icing pens and silver balls!)

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.